One of the most important things for educators – both seasoned veterans and those who are new to the job – to understand is that students don’t hate education. Learning and discovering new things is a natural part of the human experience and, indeed, it’s something that appeals to all of us on a base level. There’s an inherent thrill involved with learning something new and using that insight to contextualize things that are happening in our lives or to solve a problem or answer a longstanding question that has been eating away at us.
Many of them don’t even hate school as an idea – what they’re responding negatively to is the rigid structure that school makes them adhere to, forcing them into a “one size fits all” box where one cannot afford to exist. They don’t dislike what they’re learning. They dislike how they’re being made to learn it.
It’s a complicated situation that has only gotten worse over time, particularly as the attention of students becomes more fractured than ever. If they don’t like what they’re learning in a classroom, they can quickly get that satisfaction on the Internet. Nevertheless, they’re still being made to spend so much time in this physical environment every single day.
So why do some students dislike school but love education? The answer to that question, of course, requires you to keep a few key things in mind.
Why Some Kids Dislike School: Breaking Things Down
Part of the reason why students often grow to dislike school has less to do with what it represents and more to do with how it operates. Even new teachers can tell you that each student is a little bit different from the next. They all have their personalities and their unique strengths and weaknesses. But unfortunately, the “traditional” approach to classroom education doesn’t just try to force these kids into a one-size-fits-all box – it tries to force them into twelve.
Concerning the broader scope of a school district, kids are generally treated the same by grade level. By third grade, they should be at an X ability level. By sixth grade, they should have reached Y. By their senior year in high school, they should be at Z.
The issue is that students all learn at their own pace and if you try to create a unique process that appeals to all of them, you’re naturally going to become a “Jack of all trades, master of none” as a result. Certain kids will excel, others will be at above average, and others still will fall behind. Because the pace of each lesson is rigid, and because the attention of educators is spread so thin, it’s difficult (and often impossible) to devote personal attention to each one. At that point, the ones that are falling behind aren’t just separated from the rest of the group – they become self-conscious and frustrated with the process, which only makes things worse.
At the same time, when lessons need to appeal to hundreds of kids at once, they naturally become very general. Learners – especially young ones – are at their most engaged when they’re experiencing things that are relevant to their own lives. How do you take algebra and make it relevant to 300 different kids at the same time in the same way?
The answer is simple: you can’t.
Once this happens, students don’t just grow disinterested with school – they start to resent it. At a basic level, this is where love for education but a dislike of school comes from.
A Solution Presents Itself
But acknowledging all this is one thing – doing something about it is another matter entirely. For many teachers across the world, technology is quickly proving to be the resource they need to this end when they need it the most.
Over the last few years, the use of technology in the classroom has exploded – and that goes beyond students bringing their smartphones to class. A considerable number of districts are going one-to-one (meaning that every student is issued a laptop, tablet or similar device) and if they’re not, they’re still bringing in computers in a way that goes beyond the more “traditional” computer lab.
E-learning is a vital resource chiefly because it can accommodate everyone’s needs. It not only changes how content is accessed, consumed and discussed, but it makes that experience incredibly malleable. People can learn at their own pace in a way that suits the way they need to learn. Content can be easily updated and synchronized across all learners, making sure that everyone has only the most timely and relevant information to work with.
At the same time, it offers a consistent experience for educators allowing them to communicate the message of the day in a way that is no longer limited by their classroom environment or even geography. Even if a student is at home sick for the day, the learning doesn’t have to stop. They can still participate in the same way they would if they were physically in the classroom. They won’t fall behind, they won’t grow frustrated with the process, and they won’t dislike being involved with school again.
If you still think that e-learning isn’t part of the future of education, there are some numbers you need to be aware of. Online learning, in particular, is an industry that grew to a massive $107 billion in value in 2015. By as soon as 2025, that number is expected to climb to an enormous $325 billion. This is because so many school districts can see the truth, which is that technology isn’t going to replace teachers in the learning process – instead, it’s going to empower them.
It’s going to make it possible for them to get more personal with their lessons and for them to focus on more timely, relevant lessons in the first place. That, in turn, is going to proactively empower the students themselves to take an emotional role in their education again by way of a trend that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
In the End
But thankfully, times are changing – and a large part of this has to do with the technology that is now available to us that would have been unthinkable even a decade ago. With mobile learning and similar techniques, it’s now possible for students to learn anywhere, at any time, in any way. Teachers can get more intimate with their lesson plans, even in the largest classrooms in the largest schools. They’re in a better position to draw students into the learning process instead of keeping them at arm’s length.
When learning experiences are more timely, more relevant and more intimate like that, there’s honestly no limit to what the educational system can accomplish at a time where an engaged student body is needed more than ever.